REVIEW: Avril Lavigne, “Goodbye Lullaby”

I am somewhat of (i.e. completely and incredibly) a big fan of Avril Lavigne’s, ever since 2002 when I met a girl who, at the time, loved Avril and couldn’t shut up about her. I initially shrugged her off as being not any good since she is Canadian (nothing good ever came from Canada, right?), but after I gave her a listen I immediately fell in love. The girl’s love for Avril, and my love for the girl, didn’t last, but almost ten years later and Avril Lavigne is still my number one girl, and single-handedly responsible for my love of all girls Rock.

Goodbye Lullaby marks the first of Avril’s four albums where some of the songs (in this case half) are written solely by Avril herself. Recording for the album began in 2008, shortly after concluding “The Best Damn Tour”. Since then the release date has been pushed back and the track listing has changed several times. Avril accredits this to her record company, RCA, trying to get her to do one thing while the artist inside her demands another. She has said that this is the most personal of all her albums. All of this make for an album more akin to her earlier work, namely her debut album “Let Go”.

The album starts off with the track “Black Star”, originally written as a jingle to go along with the television ads for Avril’s fragrance, of which it shares a name. It is a great opener, and while the lyrics are somewhat lacking, the melody and piano work are outstanding.

Immediately after, we get the album’s first single, “What the Hell”. This songs serves as a springboard of sorts into the rest of the album, as it differs in tone from the majority of all the other songs. Fans of “The Best Damn Thing” will love the upbeat, devil-may-care attitude. This is probably why it was chosen as the album’s initial single. Avril’s main demographic may be too young to have grown up listening to her earlier work and may not prefer the slower, more ballad-like songs that follow.

The throwback to Avril’s first album is no more apparent than in the song “Wish You Were Here”. During the bridge Avril says that she never wants to “let go”, which we hear echo again and again into the background. This may not have been intentional, and I may be looking into it too much like my high school English teachers suggested, but to me it definitely stands out as a testament to her former self.

The last few songs on the album are ones that Avril wrote herself, some of which many years ago. This is where the Avril from ten years ago really appears. We get to listen to Avril try and find out who she is and where she wants her music to go, very similar to the b-sides of her first album, if you’ve had a chance to listen to them. The songs here are slower paced, and focus mainly on her vocals, accompanied by acoustic guitar or piano. While the songs can sound very similar, it doesn’t get to the point where you feel like you’re listening to the same song over and over again with each subsequent track. The album closes with an extended version of “Alice”, which originally appeared on the soundtrack to last year’s “Alice in Wonderland.”

It was tough to write this review. I’m not a music connoisseur, and I have quite a past with Ms. Lavigne. If you’re not already a fan, I don’t know how you’ll feel about this album. If you are a fan, however, I hope this review will give you some insight as to whether or not you, like me, will be waiting in line on March 8 when this album becomes available.

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